An entrepreneur with a very rich experience of corporate affairs and legal functions, Sharda advises SMEs to come out of the delusion that legal issues are only the concerns of large firms. “Start-ups and SMEs need to think big, should be able to visualize the larger picture so that they can avail the right legal solution than going for a cheap one,” Sharda says.
Sharda’s brainchild NovoJuris was one of the first legal services in the country to productize legal solutions for startups and SMEs, a model that has been widely cloned thereafter. Founded in 2008, NovoJuris has more than 500 clients today with two branches in Bangalore and Delhi. The company has an international partnership in Singapore and is in the process of expanding its operations to the United States now.
The prime focus of the company is to provide SMEs and startups a clear idea on how to be compliant with all the applicable laws, which is implemented through its innovative "Solution based counseling" process. “People associate startups and SMEs as enterprises with not so complex or no legal issues at all. I believe that is a wrong perception. Entrepreneurs have to lay a very strong foundation to their entire activities from the very beginning,” Sharda says.
Sharda identifies financial restraints as the major issue stopping SMEs from adopting right legal solutions because the right legal services are fairly expensive. “We get our major revenue from our large clients as our business model is a classic 80:20 solution, meaning 80 percent of our billing comes from large customers who constitute around 20 percent of our clientele,” she explains. And that is her answer to how she offers affordable solutions to SMEs. “We depend on our large clients, so that we can offer affordable legal services to small players. That is precisely why we have a large number of SMEs in our client list.”
According to Sharda, SMEs and startups should focus on a list of things including employment contract, founders’ agreement, IP protection and customer contracts and more from the very beginning. “Most of the times, SMEs are so caught up in their operations that they forget to look into fact that they need to have a policy to collect money from their customers,” she said.
Talking about her immediate plans, Sharda said she wants smart lawyers who can come out of their traditional way of thoughts to think differently to offer innovative legal solutions. NovoJuris plans to expand its operations to new territories and wants to get more into IP enforcement, exists, mergers and acquisitions etc.